I was extremely excited when my parents let me join with the youth of our church in going to the March for our Lives in Atlanta. I knew from the beginning that the experience was going to be surreal. This is why I would like to share this March with you.
First, off I would like to say I did not join in the National School Walkout. I really wanted to do it, but my school threatened us with 3 days of ISS. After 10:17, when the walkout ended, I was left feeling almost guilty and as though I let myself down. It turns out that no one got ISS. That day was not a particularly good one.
So, going to this march felt like I was redeeming myself.
When we first got there, we had to walk from the church to the Civil Rights Monument. On the journey there, cars would honk at us (in a good way) as though they were encouraging our actions. This made me feel good as a teenager trying to do what she believes is right. As soon as we got there, the area around the monument was already crowded!
We listened to many different speakers in front of that monument and even still, more mobs of people were coming. Most all of the speakers were under the age of 18, except John Lewis, and each explained #whyImarch.
Now, before I go on and tell you all about what these speakers said, I would like to explain #whyImarch. For me, I am marching for the 17 people that were killed in Parkland and the many others in previous shootings. I am marching for stricter gun laws. I am marching so that a shooting in school will not happen again. I am marching as a young teenage girl feeling empowered to do what I believe is right. I need for people to understand that many people march for different reasons. We cannot group this simply into a stricter gun laws march or an abolishment of guns. Don’t let these bubble beliefs stop you from doing what is right. If you march only for the kids that have died, do it! If you march only for changes in gun laws, do it! For these shootings to never happen again, we need as many people as we can get. No further division is helpful.
The person who spoke before the march that stuck out to me the most is John Lewis. Since he marched in Selma, it felt special to have his presence. I felt the adrenaline and excitement in the crowd during his speech. I especially found it interesting when he mentioned that he knew John F. Kennedy, who died of gun violence, and even Martin Luther King Jr. who also died of gun violence. It really connected what we learn in history to reality.
There was a supposed 30,000 people at the March in Atlanta! This made the exit from the monument to the street difficult. However, soon the traffic started to move and the chants began. “Vote them out” , “Not one more” and “Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! The NRA has got to go” were probably the most common. As we were turning onto the bridge, you could see how many people were in front of us.
Soon, we arrived at the State Capital and stood to listen to the speakers in the afternoon.
The brothers Alec Zaslav (Freshman) and Jake Zaslav from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, were the main speakers. Both talked of how we need to take action and now, and told a part of their story.
Something that I felt that was different is that I belonged. I was surrounded by people who believe the same thing as me and all want to take action and cause change. This was an important day that I will be sure to remember.
For more information on this event, please check out this link: http://www.wsbradio.com/news/local/minute-minute-look-atlanta-march-for-our-lives-against-gun-violence/sVn6mjU3Zi4jdhwHt2miRM/